Discrimination and harassment against
gay men, lesbians and transgender people continues to blister across
the European Union despite rules aimed at curbing such abuses, a new
report announced Tuesday.
The European Union Agency for
Fundamental Rights said homophobic attacks are often underreported.
Offenses include verbal abuse and violent attacks.
“Many LGBT persons experience
discrimination, bullying and harassment,” FRA Director Morten
Kjaerum said in a statement. “There have been physical attacks and
even deadly assaults against LGBT persons in some countries. These
are alarming signals in an EU that prides itself on its principles of
equal treatment and non-discrimination.”
The report concluded that prejudice is
widespread, ranging from harassment in schools to discrimination in
employment or health care. Gay pride marches have been banned or
protested (authors cited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and
Romania). Organizations serving the gay and lesbian community have
been vandalized or torched. And homophobic speech by politicians and
religious leaders fuels the intolerance (the report cited Italy,
Hungary, Malta, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic).
The study pointed out that only three
member states – Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain – currently
endorse gay marriage.
Acceptance of gay rights was also high
in France, Austria and Sweden (Sweden is set to become the fourth EU
member to allow gay marriage in May.)
Its authors recommended government
action to improve the situation in the 27-country region. They
suggested the adoption of anonymous reporting of hate crimes and
improved awareness campaigns.